Avoiding the risk of opioids

opioids
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Dear Mayo Clinic: If opioids are such a problem in our country, why are they used so often to treat pain? Aren't there other effective options for controlling pain that aren't as risky?

A: Pain is a common medical problem, and opioids are often used to combat it because they can be very effective at relieving pain for a short period of time. However, you are correct that taking opioids poses significant risks, including addiction and overdose. Alternatives to opioids are available, and it's wise for people who need to seriously consider using non-opioid options when possible.

Opioids are powerful painkillers. Commonly prescribed opioid medications include oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, meperidine, codeine and methadone.

These medications often are used in hospitals to combat pain after surgery or to ease pain after a traumatic injury. Opioids also can be the most effective treatment for severe ongoing pain, such as pain caused by cancer. But other uses of opioids are increasing, too. Estimates are that 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Many turn to opioid painkillers for relief. Opioid prescriptions for chronic noncancer pain have doubled in the last decade.

In cases of serious cancer pain, the likelihood of becoming addicted to opioids over time is low. In many other situations, however, addiction to and overdose of opioids is a very real concern. Overdosing on opioids triggers low blood pressure, a slow rate of breathing and the potential for breathing to stop, as well as the possibility of a coma. Opioid overdose has a significant risk of death. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 115 Americans die, on average, every day from an .

In addition to these risks, using opioids for more than a short period of time needs to be viewed with caution because little evidence is available to support its effectiveness over time for noncancer pain. People with chronic pain who take opioids typically need higher doses over time to achieve the same level of pain control, leading to an increased risk of dependence, addiction, overdose and reduced quality of life. Some research also has shown that long-term opioid use may actually make people more sensitive to pain—a condition called opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

A range of alternatives to opioid medications exists for managing chronic pain. They include other pain-relieving medications that don't contain opioids, such as acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including naproxen sodium, ibuprofen and aspirin.

Physical and occupational therapy, stress management, relaxation techniques, acupuncture and biofeedback all have been shown to have a positive effect on chronic pain, too. Incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a therapist works with patients to learn more effective, positive ways to cope with chronic pain, also has been shown to be useful in dealing with pain.

Many health care organizations, including Mayo Clinic, offer pain rehabilitation programs that help people taper off opioid pain medications while learning about these and other pain-management techniques.

Non-opioid approaches to managing not only eliminate the risks of addiction and , in many cases, they also offer more effective relief that lasts longer and allows people to maintain a higher quality of life than is possible with ongoing use


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Jun 01, 2018
"A range of alternatives to opioid medications exists for managing chronic pain. They include other pain-relieving medications that don't contain opioids, such as acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including naproxen sodium, ibuprofen and aspirin."

Of all the options listed here, I can take exactly one - Acetaminophen. I'm restricted from the others because they are all blood thinners and I take Eliquis. The clencher here is that Acetaminophen is basically liver poison. Using opioids keeps me from killing my liver.
There is massage and lotions. Massage sometimes helps a little but the pain comes back soon. I buy lotions every time I see a new one. They seldom work on my lower back. I'm a big guy and I guess they don't get deep enough.

So, I take opioids. Luckily I don't want more and more. I seldom get euphoria which is usually what causes that. Thank you God for that one blessing.

Jun 02, 2018
This is not a medical problem. This crisis is a social problem. The ideology of profit-making demands assembly-line speed and efficiency.

That works for producing cars or processing data. The problems arise when the same procedures are dictated to be used on biological organisms. To produce medical care or process romaine lettuce.

Simplistic solutions result in a drug manufacturer's rep handing a bucket-full of the latest miracle gimmick to an over-worked doctor. And telling him or her, this will clear their wworkload. Yeah!

Cause the doctor knows there are three outcomes to every patient's ailments. Time will resolve it without any intervention but over-the-counter palliatives.

The problems will turn out to be chronic and these patients will constantly be shopping for new doctors to affirm the patient's belief in their ailment.

Or, the patient declines and dies. And there are no snap method to sort them out without waiting to see what results.

Jun 02, 2018
Opioids arent a problem in our country. Illegal fentanyl being dumped here by mexico and china is a problem in our country.

Idiot posters like willis who are too stupid to know the difference between political spin and reality are the problem here at physorg.

Actually willis dont care about hype He jus like to hear hisself type.

Aint that right willis?

Jun 03, 2018
"Of all the options listed here, I can take exactly one - Acetaminophen."

Yeah, as with you, I wouldn't much take that one. All pain relief choices, especially OTC ones, come with risk. A blatant fact that the anti-opioid crusaders always fail to mention. Try NSAIDs with ulcers and see where that gets you. Soon to be bleeding out internally.

Opioids are clearly the best option for certain types of pain and situations. There needs to be more education for safety as it's an outright lie to pretend they don't work or shouldn't be used. There's a place for them if there's a place for any kind of relief, period.

Jun 03, 2018
otto, you are misrepresenting who owns those opioid producing plants in Canada & Mexico. A lot of of that product was produced here in the good ol'U.S. of A..

When product runs are inspected, it is normal for every run having a quantity of products rejected for various defects. By law they cannot be sold in the U.S.

Again by law, the rejects can be exported abroad. Some wind up as "Foreign Aid". So as to piss off more foreigners & keep those munition industries U.S. assembly lines a'humming.

The defective products shipped to our good neighbors? Those products get repackaged & shipped right back to us. Cause? Profits!

What the hell do you think is motivating anyone involved with these transactions? And I include you reading this. Cause you are the ones trying to buy cheap miracle drugs off the internet. You have no one else to blame but yourself.

otto is always pointing the finger of blame for his miserable life. Leaving 3 fingers aimed at himself.

Jun 04, 2018
A lot of of that product was produced here in the good ol'U.S. of A.
"Q. Where is illegal fentanyl made? ... Fentanyl is often manufactured in overseas clandestine laboratories and then transported across the Southwest border or sent via mail. Both Mexico and China are major source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds." DEA (.gov)

"Law enforcement officials believe that China is the primary source of illicit fentanyl, where it can be produced in labs without government oversight and shipped to the United States through the Postal Service."

Q. Does good ol' willis know he's a lying sack of shit? ... Does it matter?

Jun 04, 2018
Nope, it doesn't matter. Because I am energy!

Which official lies do you choose to believe? Those from an government acronym? Or those from the Wall Street casino? Google it? Yeah there is the fount of honest information. NOT!

Jun 05, 2018
Which official lies do you choose to believe? Those from an government acronym? Or those from the Wall Street casino?
--Or those from a crackpot psychopath that he makes up hisself?

Hmmm tough decision.

Jun 05, 2018
I had some dental surgery a few years back and the doctor gave me some Percoset for the pain. It just made me sleepy and unable to go to sleep. It dulled the pain a little but was not worth the sleepiness. I threw the rest away and just took Tylenol. Our tolerance for any sort of pain, physical or emotional, in the US is very low and drugs are replacing our ability to cope with life. Just look at all of the perceived "pain" that our snowflakes feel who are enrolled in our colleges.

Jun 05, 2018
When they get into the real world and the participation trophies end they are totally lost.

Jun 06, 2018
Opioids arent a problem in our country. Illegal fentanyl being dumped here by mexico and china is a problem in our country.

Idiot posters like willis who are too stupid to know the difference between political spin and reality are the problem here at physorg.

Having lost two family members to legally-prescribed opioids and none to illegal fentanyl, I can assure you TheGhostOfOtto1923 is the idiot poster.

Jun 06, 2018
Sorry to hear that barakn. I get great peace and comfort from the truth. I would think that understanding the facts of why and how your relatives were lost would give greater comfort than pretending they were something else.

And I would think that discrediting people like willis, who clearly doesn't care what the facts are about this epidemic and would rather make up his own as he obviously has, might give you some sense of control and closure over your loss.

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